Nas is naming his new album Hip Hop Is Dead and, for at least this 80’s Baby, the irony is not lost. You see for the past 15 years Nasir Jones has been Hip Hop personified. As the Neo in the rap matrix, he successfully bridged the gap between the Gold Rope Chain Era and The Cristal Generation. His old school mentality mixed with his millennium flow made him the quintessential MC to carry the new school baton. Though In 2006 he’s jumping on the Hip Hop is dead bandwagon, but I don’t think he should be pointing the finger at anybody. Hip Hop is dead because Nas IS Hip Hop and he has no one to blame but himself.
Nas has been my favorite rapper for many reasons. Number 1 he doesn’t claim to be “perfect” like a lot of other people, but mainly because he’s just flat out lyrically better than anyone who’s picked up a microphone since 1992. He can get just as fly as any commercial guy or out-rap anyone okayplayer.com can throw at him. Not to mention QB’s finest isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when the time comes. Jay-Z started getting to big for his britches? A dropped a track so powerful the name turned into an official Hip Hop verb. Rap was getting too commercial? Nasty drops “Made You Look” and introduced everyone to street hop. Queensbridge Houses hating on the golden child a little too hard? Destroyed and rebuilt the whole projects. Hot 97 acting shady? Goes to Power 105 to call Flex a homosexual payola DJ, tells Noreaga to step his rap game up, reviews Cam’Ron’s Roc-a-fella solo live on air and insinuates Nelly is a Mr. Me Too for making diss records. And I loved every second of it.
One problem I do admit Nas has is he’s lazy. Maybe it’s the lack of competition after BIG and Pac died. Then he probably felt that he conquered the world post-ether. And he’s know Russell Simmons business-wise either. Imagine if God Son bossed up a decade ago and signed all the talent that went threw his hands: 50 Cent, Foxy Brown, AZ, Nature,
Bravehearts, Mobb Deep, Quan. He would’ve had a dream team 10 times bigger than the Roc-a-fella or G-Unit dynasties. Nas is kind of like Frankie Lymon Jr or Vince Carter in a way; it hurts to watch someone with all that talent just waste it away by not using it to the highest level possible.
Also there was a chain of people and events that made the golden child fall from greatness:
ALLEGEDLY SIGNING TO MURDER INC
BAD LOOK!!! Jay-Z said it best on the radio when he was talking to Angie: “Murder Inc? He isn’t a boss anymore. He’s Ashanti to me now.”
The Dips have found creative ways to make Nas their whipping boy. Including the ingenius nickname The Kufi Smacker. Nasir not responding to them only increased there stock on the streets and sending Nashuan at them really didn’t help.
All he wanted was a phone call. Just a phone call. Now Nas made a one time apprentice one of his most powerful enemies. I bet if he calls 50 on the phone right now, everything would be all good.
I personally loved that album. But most people didn’t feel the same way. They screamed for better, more diverse production. Give Kanye a chain, give Just some dust.
Between her book and her alleged romances with Jay-Z, Allen Iverson, Pete Rock, that guy from Paid In Full and god knows who else, it isn’t really a good look. And after he sleeps with her, you still sign to…
This is where you lost most of your true fans. They didn’t know what to think of this move. No matter what anyone said bad about you, we always had ether. But now…
It isn’t over for Mr. Jones though. Nas has an incredible nack for making gargantuan sized comebacks. If one man can single-handedly bring Hip Hop back, it’s him. And I’ll be the first one at Beat Street copping it whenever you drop. Good luck!